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The Best Overall Books for Kids

Updated October 14, 2020 13.4k votes 704 voters 55.7k views125 items

List RulesBooks for kids ages 4-9

The best overall books for children, ranked by readers of all ages. Anyone can vote on this kids' book list, which makes these rankings a trustworthy way to find out which books your kids will love. Is a title missing? You can also add your own books to this list, and see how your taste stacks up against everyone else's. No matter if your kids are 9 year old budding lit experts, 5 year-olds just beginning to read on their own, or pre-schoolers still having you read aloud -- these are the books you remember and hope your own kids will.

For children in pre-school or younger, check out this list of the best books for toddlers or the best new children's books.

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  • 1
    Charlotte's Web is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    227
    79

    Charlotte's Web

    E. B. White

    First Published1952

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author E. B. White and illustrated by Garth... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 2
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1957-11-24

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a children's story by Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel written in... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 3
    Green Eggs and Ham is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    263
    31

    First Published1960

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Green Eggs and Ham is a best-selling and critically acclaimed children's book by Dr. Seuss,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 4
    The Cat in the Hat is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    237
    36

    First Published1957-12-22

    SubjectsCat, Anthropomorphism

    Genres (Book)Picture book, Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    Where the Wild Things Are is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    198
    45

    First Published1963

    SubjectsEducation, Games, Classics, Adventure, Children's film

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Picture book, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Where the Wild Things Are is a 1963 children's picture book by American writer and illustrator... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wa is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1950

    SubjectsEvacuations of civilians in Britain during World War II

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 7
    The Lorax is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    183
    49

    The Lorax

    Dr. Seuss

    First Published1971-08-12

    SubjectsConsumerism, Ecology, Knitting, Environmentalism

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Lorax is a children's book written by Dr. Seuss and first published in 1971. It chronicles... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 8
    Goodnight Moon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    174
    49

    Goodnight Moon

    Margaret Wise Brown

    First Published1947

    SubjectsMoon, Rabbits, Classics, Animal

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Goodnight Moon is an American children's picture book written by Margaret Wise Brown and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #64 of 103 The Best Selling Books of All Time#3 of 97 The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

  • 9
    Charlie and the Chocolate Fact is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1964

    SubjectsChocolate, Classics, Adventure, Family, Folklore

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageWelsh Language, English Language

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 1964 children's book by British author Roald Dahl. The... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 10
    Alexander and the Terrible, Ho is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1972-06

    SubjectsGames, Drama, Family

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, published in 1972, is an ALA... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 11
    James and the Giant Peach is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1961

    SubjectsClassics, Drama, Adventure

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageFrench Language, English Language

    James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #68 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time#263 of 1,233 The Best Novels Ever Written

  • 12
    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blu is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1960

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a 1960 children's book by Dr. Seuss. It is a simple... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 13
    Are You My Mother? is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    162
    48

    Are You My Mother?

    P. D. Eastman

    First Published1960-06-12

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Are You My Mother? is a children's book by P. D. Eastman published by Random House Books for... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Little House in the Big Woods is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    128
    45

    Little House in the Big Woods

    Laura Ingalls Wilder

    First Published1932

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, 19th century, Wisconsin, Family

    Genres (Book)Western, Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Little House in the Big Woods is a children's novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder published in 1932.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    151
    73

    First Published1900-05-17

    SubjectsMusic, Wizards, United States of America, 20th century, History

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a children's novel written by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 16
    Clifford the Big Red Dog is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    149
    42
    amazon buy button

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    #28 of 300 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies#20 of 51 The Best Children's Book Series

  • 17
    Three Little Pigs is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    125
    34

    Three Little Pigs

    Heather Amery, Betty Root

    SubjectsFolklore, Animal

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature

    amazon buy button
  • 18
    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1985

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a children's book written by Laura Numeroff and illustrated by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Oh, the Places You'll Go! is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1990-01-22

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Oh, the Places You'll Go! is a book written and illustrated by children's author Dr. Seuss. It... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    Harold and the Purple Crayon is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    108
    34

    First Published1955

    Genres (Book)Children's literature

    Harold and the Purple Crayon is a 1955 children's book by Crockett Johnson. This is Johnson's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    The Hobbit is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    124
    76

    The Hobbit

    J. R. R. Tolkien

    First Published1937-09-21

    SubjectsWizards, Literary, Epic film, Literature, Classics

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction, Epic, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    The Hobbit, or There and Back Again is a fantasy novel and children's book by English author... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    Matilda is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    162
    51

    Matilda

    Roald Dahl

    First Published1988

    SubjectsEducation, Humour, Classics, Adventure, Schools

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Humour, Children's literature, Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Matilda is a children's novel by British author Roald Dahl. It was published in 1988 by... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Stone Soup is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    122
    66

    Stone Soup

    Marcia Brown

    First Published1947

    SubjectsFrance, Classics, Folklore

    Genres (Book)Children's literature, Fiction

    Stone Soup is a book by Marcia Brown.amazon buy button
  • 24
    Where the Sidewalk Ends is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids
    143
    47

    Where the Sidewalk Ends

    Shel Silverstein

    First Published1974

    SubjectsClassics, English Literature

    Genres (Book)Poetry, Children's literature, Fiction

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Where the Sidewalk Ends is a collection of children's poetry written and illustrated by Shel... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NI is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Overall Books for Kids

    First Published1971

    SubjectsLiterature, Classics, Children's film, Animal

    Genres (Book)Speculative fiction, Children's literature, Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy

    Original LanguageEnglish Language

    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a 1971 children's book by Robert C. O'Brien, with... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
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